Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Michelle Obama, the word "really", and the Right Wing

Poor Michelle Obama made the mistake of saying “For the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country,”according to the Daily Cardinal, the campus nespaper of the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Interestingly many other sites have dropped the "really" from what she said. The Boston Hearld dropped the "really" from her sentence.

The problem is that she said two nearly identical things in Madison, Wisconsin that day according to the Boston Globe. In one it seems as if there is no really. However, in that tape there is a glitch between "I'm" and "proud." Check it out. Whether the video has been clipped by some trickster or not I can't say, but there is a glitch. Perhaps somone with some good sound editing software can comment on this. In another case, she clearly says "really." So, your political position will, it seems, dictate which version you decide is the "authentic" one.

Joe Scarborough, being a conservative Super Patriot, of the Morning Joe show on MSNBC was clearly distressed, wondering idiotically if the "really" in her sentence was all that important to the meaning. His lovely and clearly much more intelligent sidekick, Mika, tried to explain what Ms. Obama had meant.

The aptly named Hot Air web site took her to task, titling the story Michelle Obama hasn’t been proud of America in at least 26 years? On and on we go as the right wing revises the language of the left of center as it pleases, hoping to create, I'm sure, a mini-Swift Boat controversay surounding Ms. Obama.

Yes, Joe, the "really" really counts. The sentence
I really like you.
is completely consistent with
I like you.
I am really proud of my country today.
is fully consistent with
I am proud of my country.
To anyone but a dummox like Scarborough and other Right Wing ninnies, these are indisputable facts.

During the Vietnam War, I was not proud of what my country was doing. In fact, I was incensed by it. If someone asked if I was proud of my country in general, I would have to have thought a minute since there was an active Civil Rights movement going on that was running into Southern resistance. Am I proud of America now? Not so much. Any country that can elect a cowboy like Bush is not worth of a lot of respect. However I am proud of what has been going on in the Democratic party where we have had a closely fought battle between an African-American and a White woman that has been reasonably civilized so far. I do not expect this to continue. Hillary got crushed in Wisconsin yesterday. I take this to mean that the Democrats (and Independents and Republicans) who voted in that primary have decided that we Democrats can win with him. That has been with many of us the key question.

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Blogger Bilbo said...

I'm reminded of a lecture I attended many years ago given by Noam Chomsky, in which he spoke for over an hour on the subject of "each insertion," going into endless levels of detail on the semantic differences between sentences which differed significantly only in the location of the word 'each' (for instance, "the soldiers shot each other" - vs - "each soldier shot the other"). Although I was a linguistics major with an interest in semantics, I was ready to kill myself from boredom. Your point is well taken and I appreciated your analysis of a totally stupid issue.

3:05 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

You must have been after me, Bilbo, for I heard no such pedantic lectures in my time. He was my first year quite thrilling to listen to. Not so much my third year.

Thanks for your comment.

3:31 PM


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